As winter wraps us in its cool embrace, it brings with it the magic of snow, the joy of holidays, and cozy moments that define this time of year. I mean, think of the savoury moments of simply cuddling on the sofa, sipping on hot chocolate, making seasonal soup, journaling into the evening, and dressing up in warm fuzzy sweaters paired with chunky boots. Even so, amidst all the holiday joy, those of us with 4C hair are presented with the challenge of battling against hair dryness as a result of the cold and windy weather outside combined with the dry indoor heat.
It is vital to understand that even with all the gloriousness of natural hair, that we all love and are empowered by, its tight, dense, and kinky hair texture makes it much more prone to breakage due to its highly porous nature. To solve this, you need to find ways to infuse as much moisture as possible and then help your hair retain it.
And TTAT is here to guide you through it. So, here are a few tips to make sure your hair stays hydrated through the winter;
1. Stay hydrated
This may seem like basic advice- but you’d be surprised by how important drinking water is for your 4c curls. By drinking water, you moisturize your hair from the inside out. Water also helps energize and support hair growth from root to tip as well as help prevent split ends and a brittle hair texture. The benefits of water also extend to healthier scalp meaning you'll have fewer chances of developing problems like dryness, itchiness, or dandruff.
At this point you may be wondering, ‘how much water should I be drinking?’ And the answer, simply put is, drink as much water as your body can handle. If you can drink at least 2 liters per day, you’ll be in good shape.
2. Use a good moisturizer
Moisturizing your hair is just as vital as moisturizing your skin. That’s because, just as our melanated skin needs water to stay healthy and vibrant, so do our 4c strands. Hair moisurisers serve to replace and nourish the water lost.
3. Using the L-O-C method
The LOC method chronicles a moisturizing hair ritual, where the letters ‘L’ ‘O’ and ‘C’ represent the different products to use—liquid/leave-in, oil and cream. The ritual describes using the aforementioned products in chronological order where; the liquid is applied onto the hair first and this acts as your moisturizer which allows your hair cuticles to open and better retain the products from the next two steps. This makes your hair softer and shinier throughout this hair treatment process.
The second step entails applying oil to help lock in the moisture you’ve added to your hair. Some oils you may consider using include olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil. It is advised to use lightweight, and easily absorbed oils as opposed to heavy and thick oils; the latter can clog pores and make your scalp dehydrated and oily. The final step to this treatment is using cream; this helps you seal in the moisture, so you won’t have to do this method every single day. You can use a curling cream or general moisturizing cream.
4. Hair Treatments
Proper natural hair treatments are important in maintaining healthy hair and preventing damage that might lead to further issues such as brittle hair, and split ends. As such, hair treatments such as, deep conditioning treatment, hot oil treatment, and protein treatment become vital in boosting hydration and natural ingredients as well as repairing damage and nourishment.
(i) Deep conditioning
Both regular conditioners and deep conditioners improve hair’s vibrancy. But deep conditioners have a more noticeable impact. They are best used to; detangle hair, decrease frizz, boost shine, and increase smoothness. Deep conditioning should be a regular part of your hair care regimen because it can add back moisture and help reduce frizz and as such, it is advisable to perform this treatment once every week. If buying deep conditioners feels too heavy, then feel free to make a DIY conditioner using ingredients such as; avocado, egg, and olive oil that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are ideal for repairing and strengthening strands. Similar to store-bought conditioners, just apply the mixture and leave it in for at least 30 minutes and cover your hair with a TTAT shower cap to ensure it penetrates your hair deeply and packs it with the nutrients to thrive.
(ii) Hot oil treatment
This process involves heating a nourishing oil, such as coconut, olive, or jojoba oil, and applying it to your hair and scalp. Begin by warming the oil (not too hot!) and sectioning your dry hair. Gently massage the oil into your scalp, ensuring even coverage from roots to ends. Once applied, cover your hair with a TTAT shower cap or a satin wrap to trap the heat, allowing the oil to penetrate deeply. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes, or even overnight for an intensive treatment. The heat opens the hair cuticle, allowing the oil to penetrate and moisturize, while the massaging action boosts circulation. Incorporating this treatment during the winter season will greatly help in combating dryness and promoting elasticity for healthier, more resilient hair.
5. Cut down on heat styling
Heat styling to curl, straighten, or add volume to your hair might have been a part of your daily routine throughout the year. But doing this during winter may also be the reason that your hair is drying out even more- so how about giving your hair a break from the heat? Rather than subjecting your hair to the drying effects of constant heat when drying it or styling, how about embracing protective hairstyles like braids, artificial locs and cornrows that keep your strands shielded from the harsh winter elements. Opting for these styles significantly reduces the heat used on hair and preserves the health of your hair as well as ensure that it stays moisturized and resilient during colder months.
And of course, make sure to also incorporate a TTAT shower cap into your routine to protect your hair against frizz during showers and baths.
6. Wear Satin-lined hats
We all know that wrapping satin scarves or using satin pillowcases on our 4c hair when going to bed preserves our hairstyles for a bit longer by reducing friction against rough fabrics such as cotton. The same applies to satin-lined hats, they reduce friction and hair breakage, thereby maintaining healthy hair and skin and preserving hairstyles during the day as you stay warm during winter. So, if you're looking for a hat that's both stylish and functional to keep you warm, make sure to invest in one that is satin-lined.
Well, there you have it folks- here are the tips to keeping your hair hydrated through winter. Follow them with a little extra effort, and you'll keep your hair looking great this winter.